After the Prosecutor Appeals at The Supreme Court, The Federal Court Suspends Witness Hearing

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The appeal was filed after the Federal High Court, on April 6, denied the prosecutor’s request for a closed-door and behind-the-scenes witness trial, which was set to begin today. The high court denied the prosecutor’s appeal on April 6th, stating that the existence of the threat presented to its witnesses was not supported by adequate evidence. The court also quoted Article 20 of the constitution, which stipulates that anybody accused of a crime has the right to a fair hearing in a court of law. The court, on the other hand, decided that the prosecutor’s witness trial could continue without the names of the witnesses being revealed. However, the lawyer has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, delaying the commencement of the witness hearing until today.

Furthermore, the defense team informed the Supreme Court today that they had not obtained any court order from the Supreme Court requiring them to appear and respond to the federal prosecutor’s appeal. They also noted that the prison administration had failed to enforce their clients’ complaints over access to a private health center and telephone contact with family members of a decision passed in prior court hearings.

The first defendant, Jawar Mohammed, has requested access to care in order to undergo a dental procedure to treat sores attached to two teeth, as recommended by physicians.

Bekele Gerba, the second defendant, told the court that the defendants would like to appear in person before the Supreme Court to refer to the prosecutor’s appeal. He also requested that the court compel the prison administration to supply him with the COVID-19 vaccine because he suffers from other health problems that render him vulnerable.
As a result, the judges ruled that the prison administration should make it easier for defendants to communicate with their families who live abroad and that defendant Bekele Gerba be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The court also directed Jawar’s attorneys to send a doctor’s written prescription for dental surgery to the judge’s office so that the coffin could be removed.

Bekele Gerba’s request for physical presence at the Supreme Court to refer to the prosecutor’s appeal was denied, and the court instead ordered defense attorneys to appear in person and the defendants to watch the proceedings on plasma TV.
The court postponed the next trial until April 28, pending the Supreme Court’s ruling on the prosecutor’s appeal on the operation of the witness hearing.
Tuli Bayisa, a member of the defense team, told Addis Standard that they did not obtain the Supreme Court’s order to appear and respond to the federal prosecutor’s appeal until after the news broke.